Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, yet treatable, mental health condition that affects an estimated 2.5% of adults and 8.8% of children in this country.
ADHD can cause lack of focus, disorganization, fidgeting or having a hard time remaining calm and still, and hyperactivity in some people. While there’s no cure, there are very effective forms of treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Often, treatment plans will include ADHD medication — but that’s not always the case. It’s true that ADHD meds are generally the first line of treatment for childhood and adult ADHD, but many people and parents of children with ADHD have begun opting for a more holistic route involving natural remedy choices or natural treatment options.
There are a number of natural treatments for ADHD that have been studied and found potentially useful in helping people learn to cope with and manage a child or adult ADHD diagnosis. Natural treatments may not work the same as others, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any natural supplements.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how to treat ADHD naturally, keep reading. We’re exploring effective natural treatments for ADHD.
Natural Remedies & Treatments for ADHD
Fortunately, for anyone trying to learn ADHD natural remedies, there are several approaches you can try. Some of the more common ADHD medication alternatives include:
- EEG biofeedback
- Calming techniques
- Maintaining healthy sleep habits
- Paying attention to your diet
- Getting enough exercise
“Medications are not the only option for individuals with ADHD. There are certain vitamins and supplements that can help with treating ADHD symptoms. Exercise and having a healthy diet can also help stabilize an individual who is struggling with ADHD. ”Talkspace therapist Bisma Anwar, MA, MSc, LMHC
Taking supplements and vitamins can provide a host of health benefits for anyone’s mental and physical well-being if they’re vitamin deficient, regardless of whether or not they have ADHD. For those who have been diagnosed with it, however, certain supplements may be able to significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms of ADHD.
Research is mixed, but there are some promising studies out there suggesting supplement efficacy could be the real deal. If you’re hoping to treat ADHD naturally, some of these vitamins and natural supplements might be worth researching.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B, or Vitamin B6, is known for its role in the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain. B Vitamins play a role in the production of these chemicals, which can be integral to treating symptoms of ADHD. In some studies, findings suggest there may be a link between ADHD and low levels of B vitamins.
- Zinc: Zinc is a supplement that regulates dopamine, which is related to attention issues. According to research, zinc might help with impulse control, memory, and attention, which would all be a plus when treating ADHD.
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is known to cause hyperactivity and irritability, both symptoms of ADHD. Research has shown a positive response when people with ADHD take magnesium. Some of the results showed a “significant decrease” in hyperactive behavior.
- Iron: Iron helps the brain produce dopamine, and it’s widely accepted that dopamine levels are different in people with ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD have long been associated with iron deficiency, and some studies have shown that taking zinc and iron together might help.
Therapy can be very effective in helping people with ADHD learn to manage their condition — particularly in the case of behavioral therapy, an umbrella term used to describe types of therapy that help you identify, then modify, unhealthy or unhelpful thought processes and behaviors. Types of therapy for ADHD that have proven beneficial include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- Family therapy and couples counseling
“Some types of therapy are specifically effective with ADHD. Behavioral therapy helps to create a structured routine which helps manage distractions and improves concentration in individuals with this diagnosis.”Talkspace therapist Bisma Anwar, MA, MSc, LMHC
3. EEG biofeedback
Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback is a neurotherapy that helps researchers and doctors measure brainwaves. While much more research is still needed, EEG biofeedback may prove to be a promising and effective alternative treatment to ADHD meds. Multiple studies we have thus far do seem to offer consistent evidence that improvement in symptoms is quite possible with the use of EEG-neurofeedback training.
4. Calming techniques
ADHD natural remedies might be found through various calming techniques and self-care tactics that do wonders for our general state of mental well-being. The same can be said for the part they might play in treating ADHD, as well. For example, the following are great ways to calm the mind and get into a positive, productivity-focused, ready-to-start-your-day mindset:
- Breathing exercises
- Journaling for mental health
- Yoga or Tai Chi
Yoga was shown to be an effective natural remedy in a study that looked specifically at boys with ADHD — the results found that taking daily medication, combined with a daily yoga practice improved anxiety, hyperactivity, and social issues. Other research on how to treat ADHD naturally links Tai Chi to improved hyperactivity and anxiety ADHD symptoms in teens.
5. Maintain healthy sleep patterns
Sleep disturbances are often linked to ADHD. The direct association is multi-directional and complicated, and we don’t yet fully understand whether sleep issues are the result of ADHD, or if they just exacerbate its symptoms. That said, it’s generally accepted that a positive relationship with sleep can be beneficial in multiple facets of life, including reducing ADHD symptoms.
6. Pay attention to diet
Eating a diet of low or non-processed foods and reducing sugar intake is smart for people living with ADHD. More research is necessary, but some studies suggest that certain additives like sodium benzoate and other food colorings and preservatives might contribute to symptoms associated with ADHD. Eating a balanced diet full of fresh, whole, and minimally processed foods is good for general overall health, too.
Meta-analysis and systematic reviews have indicated that aerobic exercise can have a positive effect on ADHD brains. Specifically, working out as one of the natural remedies for ADHD can help address major symptoms like impulsivity, hyperactivity, executive functioning issues, and anxiety in children.
When to Seek ADHD Treatment
Like any mental health condition, treatment efficacy can greatly vary from person to person. One form of natural treatment, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, may be extremely successful in some people. Other people, however, might find that medication is a necessary and effective component of their overall ADHD treatment plan, despite any potential side effects that may result.
At the end of the day, if you or a loved one is dealing with symptoms of ADHD that are becoming a hindrance to your ability to function, it’s time to think about getting help. Since no two treatments will work the same on two people, you might find that a combination approach is best. Natural remedies for ADHD, therapy, and potentially the use of medication in some cases, might offer the best results.
The most important thing to remember is that treatment can be extremely successful for people living with ADHD whether you’re a child, teen, or adult. How that looks can differ, but ultimately, while not curable, ADHD is a highly treatable condition. Never avoid seeking treatment because you believe that medication has to be part of the equation; medication successfully helps many people manage their symptoms. However, there are ADHD medication alternatives out there.
Get Professional Help with Talkspace
If you’re looking for professional help, but aren’t sure where to start, think about reaching out to Talkspace today. Our online platform takes a unique approach to dealing with ADHD and other mental health conditions. We make online therapy simple, convenient, and best of all, available when you are. We’re there whether you’re looking for tips specifically on how to deal with ADHD without medication, or if you want to just learn about all the options regarding an overall treatment plan.
Ready to learn how to treat ADHD? Get the help you need with Talkspace today. Our experienced, qualified therapists are here and ready to help you begin managing ADHD, with or without medication, so you can get your life back on track.
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